“Take Advantage Of FOI Law’’

-MOI Director Urges Liberians

By T. Saye Goinleh

The Director of Information, Records and Documentation at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Elvis F. Towalid is encouraging Liberians to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Law (FOI) to receive whatever information they need from any government ministry and agency that they can use.

According to Towalid, people often give misleading information on various radio talk shows and the social media without cross checking their facts thereby leading them to willfully or ignorantly tarnish the hard-earned characters of people in the society as well as those in government’s officialdom.

Speaking in an interview with reporters on Monday at his MICAT’s office on Capitol Hill, Director Towalid said the Freedom of Information Act which was signed into law on September 16, 2010 provides all persons the right to access public information.

“FOI is a fundamental human right guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), as is also enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Liberia’’, Towalid declared.

He warned against people who are in the persistent habits of negatively providing misleading information on social media and using other platforms to denigrate some heads of government institutions likes-wise prominent people in society without establishing proofs.

The MICAT’s Official further narrated that Liberia joined ninety other countries around the world to pass this instrument on the “freedom of information’’ thereby making Liberia the first in West Africa to ascribe to this important protocol.

It can be recalled that in early 2011, an “Information Center’’ was created with a director to ensure the supervision and full compliance of the law within the Ministry of Information and is being overseen by the Deputy Minister for Administration who serves as government’s Freedom of Information focal person on the international scene.

Towalid was quick to point out that the FOI Law is meant to promote and protect the effective, equitable, and affordable exercise of the rights of citizens in accessing materials which help strengthen democratic accountability, promote political participation, increase transparency, reduce government’s abuses and create effective ways of balance allocation of benefits accrued from the natural resources of the people

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